Original Date: 10/20/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Mobile Gantry Applied Drilling System
Northrop Grumman recognized the need for an automated drilling system that could be shuttled between several different Cost Centers and produce different subassemblies. By taking advantage of the commonalities in part size, shape, process, and lessons learned from its Electronic Gantry Applied Drilling System (EGADS) development, Northrop Grumman is currently in the final stages of developing the Mobile Gantry Applied Drilling System (MOGADS). MOGADS shares numerous common features with EGADS (e.g., unique end effector, machine controller, controller interface, linear rails, drives, motors) and provides a very accurate mobile automated drilling system.
A major focus in the development of both EGADS and MOGADS was the operator interface. These machines are unlike other computer numerical control (CNC) machines and robots which typically have a controller that can perform a wide variety of tasks and require a high level of skill and training. Instead, Northrop Grumman developed EGADS and MOGADS to perform simple tasks as directed by personnel who currently work in the assembly cell. Since these machines will be operated by the same personnel who build the aircraft, minimal training will be required.
Limited in scope to finite functions such as drilling, the operator interface does not need to contain the typical CNC machine’s controller complexity. Simplification of the functions performed by the machine allows for an operator interface design. This interface design can be used by existing mechanics within the assembly cell who are most familiar with the manufacture of the assemblies being drilled. Both EGADS and MOGADS are further enhanced by graphics and touch screen functions. The machines have audible instructions and textual interactive tutorials, which interface with the software and prompt the user to perform the correct operation.
EGADS, a fixed system, will be attached to the vertical stabilizer assembly tool for use. However, MOGADS will be a mobile system that can be transported to the various Cost Centers within the plant, and be applied to a variety of assembly tools. The first parts, targeted for use by MOGADS, are the engine bay doors, the aft side panels, and the forward side panels. Installation is scheduled for February 1998. Northrop Grumman plans to continue making reasonable modifications to the product, process, and tooling to further enhance MOGADS’ capabilities.
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